Coffee with a Candidate: Democratic candidate for lieutenant gov - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Coffee with a Candidate: Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

Bernard Carvalho Jr. is a Democrat running for Lt. Governor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is a Democrat running for Lt. Governor

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, whose profile was raised during the response to the island's flooding disaster, said education and key partnerships are central to pushing Hawaii forward.

Here are some things you might not know about Carvalho:

  • He became mayor of Kauai in 2008.
  • Carvalho has been employed by the County of Kauai since 1985.
  • He attended UH-Manoa on a full-ride athletic scholarship for football.

Questions for the candidate:

  • Talk about what inspired you to run in this race for lieutenant governor.

I’ve been mayor for the island of Kauai for the past 10 years and my term is winding down. I actually served as a civil servant for 17 years then department head, and then mayor. So speaking with my wife and family, I wanted to take it to the next level. I gained a lot of executive level experience that I feel I want to take to the next level. I want to share not only with Kauai but with the state. So the next level, after talking with my family, would be the Lieutenant Governor’s office. And I felt that that’s the place where we need to really build the people. The people need to be part of the Lieutenant Governor’s kuleana, responsibility, I feel. And with my experience, I feel ready to take it to the next level, and that’s the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

  • The position of Lieutenant Governor is so interesting because it depends on the relationship with the Governor. What would be the one issue that you would say, “Hey Gov, please give this to me, I want to work on this”?   

Emergency preparedness. I’ve gone through, as a department head, hurricane issues, as mayor, now with the flooding on Kauai. I think that’s the part where I can really bring to the table my experience to continue what is already in place and enhance it and make it better. We develop strong relationships on the federal, the state, the county and working closely with the Governor. But really pulling our counties together and really coming up with a solid plan and continue to enhance that because our world is changing, our climate is changing, our islands are changing so we have got to be ready and I think that’s the area, one of the areas that I think I can bring to the table with my experience especially with what happened over on Kauai, the worst flooding in history and now part of our island being isolated and having to deal with that. So, I feel that will be a big part of bringing that to the office.

  • So one of the interesting things about you is your football career. Take us back to your glory days.

Back in 1979, I graduated from Kapaa High School. I got a visit from Coach Bob Wagner who came into our home, you know, I come from a humble upbringing so I really didn’t know what was going to happen. My parents were divorced and stuff so I had a tough time. But that visit was to offer me a full athletic scholarship to the University of Hawaii, paid. That changed my life. With my dad there and my coaches in our living room, that changed my life. So, I went to the University of Hawaii, played football from 1970 on and those were the days the stadium was full, the support was totally there. It was just an experience to me. And, like I said, it changed my life. Not only on the field but off the field in leadership, teamwork, knowing who to call upon, knowing the changes you have to make along the game. Sometimes a field goal is unacceptable, you go for the touchdown. That kind of thinking added to my leadership style - having to learn to work together. You have to work with the head coach and the assistant coach. In this particular case, the assistant coach is the Lieutenant Governor. You’ve got to work it. Come up with your game plan. Know who to talk to. Know the resources available. The people are watching as you manage yourself whether it be disasters or whatever it is. I think that’s what we need.  

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